Kent School District offers free SAT tests

KENT -- Getting ready for college can be nerve-wracking and expensive.  Taking the ACT and SAT adds up, especially if students take those tests multiple times.

The Kent School District, where 54% of students qualify for free or reduced lunch, is easing that financial burden.  The standard SAT test costs $51 this year, but the Kent district is offering the test to all students for free.

SATTEST“That’s part of our commitment to ensure that each and every student has those choices in their lives.  By offering the SAT and PSAT free for our students, it creates those opportunities for them and there are no barriers,” said Kent Schools Superintendent Edward Lee Vargas.

On Wednesday, Oct. 16, all eighth-, 10th-, 11th- and 12th-graders can take college preparation tests for free in their own schools. Eighth-graders will take what's called the Readi Step Test.  Tenth- and 11th-graders will take the PSAT and high school seniors will take the SAT.

“It’s basically our gateway into college.  It’s really nice and a weight off our shoulders, and especially off our parents, too,” said Kentridge High Junior Mae Thungc.

It's all part of the district's College Readiness Pathway program.  The goal is to make sure by the time they graduate, each and every student is ready for college and career.

“We know that in order for them to have these kinds of opportunities in their lives, we have to create those pathways for them,” Vargas said.

About 1,500 seniors -- and 8,000 students total -- in the Kent district will take these college prep tests next week.  The funding comes from a federal Race to the Top grant.  The free tests are also being offered in Renton, Federal Way, Auburn, Highline School District and the southern portion of the Seattle School District.